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One year on, no justice for the ‘boat crisis’ survivors and human trafficking victims


By Ro ZR Arakani

Still survivors are deteriorating in sub-human conditions with constant threat to life and liberty. With no legislation for the protection of boat survivors and kidnapped victims, they are suffering and human rights abuses continue. Governments are failing to protect survivors and UNHCR is failing to register and give protection to the survivors. So many human rights groups have discussed these concerns with EU and US officials as well as other members of the diplomatic community. Still there is no investigations and protection for survivors.

Rohingya refugees are being kept in indefinite detention. Hundreds of refugees who survived the 15th May 2015 boat crisis in South East Asia have been locked up in poor conditions in Malaysia ever since. Survivors need urgent action to stop detaining those out of prison and release detainees from prison and detention camp and start implementing genuine protections and urgent solutions, especially for human trafficking and kidnapped victims.

After harrowing footage of desperate refugees and migrants stranded at sea was beamed around the world last May, Malaysia agreed to accept 1,100 people. Almost 400 of those were identified as Rohingya refugees–people fleeing persecution in Myanmar. One year on, the majority of the Rohingya remain in Malaysia’s Belentik Detention Centre (IDC).

So who is investigating the fate of the boat crisis survivors? Women, men and children fled from persecution in Myanmar only to undergo the horror of being abandoned at sea by the unscrupulous gangs who run the sea routes. Malaysia should have been their place of safety but instead they have spent a year in detention with no end in sight.

In Malaysia, generally Rohingya refugees are suffering from detention, lack of education, poverty, and illegalness, who are mostly victims of human trafficking and many of them are still in detention camps. I, as a refugee, am calling those who are concerned to take action for the immediate release of the survivors and to work with international partners to ensure they are given the protection they are entitled to under international law.

Another matter of concern is that among those survivors, though some of them has their spouses, siblings, children or parents in Malaysia and they were caught while they were trying to come to meet their partners or relatives by the help of human traffickers, they are being resettled in third country especially USA, and their request to stay with their life partners or relatives is ignored.

The 15th May 2015 Andaman Sea ‘boat crisis’ claimed global attention when dozens of boats carrying thousands of desperate people were abandoned at sea and the governments of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia refused to allow them to disembark. Malaysia and Indonesia eventually accepted a total of three boats carrying more than 2,900 refugees and migrants. They agreed to provide temporary shelter to the group for a one-year time frame provided they would be resettled or repatriated by the international community within that period. To date, approximately 36 Rohingya refugees from the boat survivors group in Malaysia were resettled to the USA on last 26th May 2016.”

The opinion is of the writer’s own and doesn’t necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Rohingya Vision TV. To send reports and feedback, please email to: